City Ideas Studio launches with food residency at The Architecture Centre

Today the Architecture Centre launches its City Ideas Studio, a year-long programme of exhibitions and events exploring the Bristol 2015 European Green Capital themes of Food, Nature, Transport, Resources and Energy and how they relate to the built environment.

Photo: Jon Craig
Beginning with a focus on food in the city, the City Ideas Studio looks at how we design, manage and use our buildings and urban spaces, and how food production can contribute to healthier, happier and greener cities.

The Department of Architecture and the Built Environment has a long-standing commitment to sustainability in the built environment

Kicking off the City Ideas Studio exhibition programme, leading urban design and architectural thinker CJ Lim will lead a discussion around how we can we produce and eat more healthy food in the city in this initial exhibition, City Ideas Studio: Food (1 May to 5 July).


Joining the debate are broad and diverse groups and organisations such as the Bristol Food Network, Grow Bristol, Kitchen on Prescription and FareShare South West, bringing insight from their own urban initiatives and visions for a food-friendly future.

Liz McCarthy, Kitchen on Prescription Project Lead says: 

“We are delighted to be part of the City Ideas Studio. It provides us with a great platform to communicate our message about helping people to learn to cook good food from scratch in order to enhance and manage their own health.

"It is a great opportunity also to network and collaborate with some of the other exciting food projects across Bristol this Green Capital year.”

Exhibition visitors can access a range of case studies and information on all aspects of sustainable place-making thanks to a digital touchscreen (produced by Bristol-based app developers Calvium).

The touchscreen features content from recent Architecture Centre exhibitions and will be added to throughout the year as the City Ideas Studio progresses.

The season of City Ideas Studio events launches with CJ Lim, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Bartlett, UCL and author of Food City.

Lim will discuss the synergies between food and the city in a free talk at 2015 Lab on Bristol’s Harbourside on Thursday 7 May, 18:00.

The event is part of the Food Connections' festival programme - one of the organisations contributing to the Architecture Centre's food residency, bridging the gap between the city's foodies and its architects, engineers, landscape architects and designers.

In a keynote lecture that will help shape the agenda for the year-long City Ideas Studio programme, architect Peter Clegg, founding partner of FCB Studios, presents lessons learnt from a three-decade pursuit of new environmental approaches to architecture.

From self-built experiments in passive solar design at the domestic scale in the 1980s to the increasingly complex social and political issues that shape our contemporary cities, Clegg sets out his definition of the Architecture of a Green Capital.

Part of Bristol’s BIG Green Week (13 – 21 June), Architecture for a Green Capital: Beyond the environmental handbook takes place at Arnolfini on Tuesday 16 June, 18:00.

Photo: Jon Craig
UWE academics and architecture students also contribute to the debate by sharing research from their own projects, as well as illustrating data from each of the Green Capital themes across a series of five city maps throughout the year.

Elena Marco, Head of Department Architecture and the Built Environment, UWE, says:

“We are delighted to be working with the Architecture Centre on this exciting programme, as part of our ongoing partnership with the Centre.

"The Department of Architecture and the Built Environment has a long-standing commitment to sustainability in the built environment, and this collaboration will give our students and staff opportunities to share their innovative research and learning as well as sharing our knowledge with the community.

"In a significant year for Bristol, we are looking forward to sharing our ideas for greener place-making in Bristol Green Capital.”

As well as support from UWE, the Architecture Centre has worked alongside the Bristol City Council Sustainable City team to establish its Bristol 2015 programme. "

Food Connections is one of the organisations contributing to the centre's food residency, bridging the gap between the city's foodies and its architects, engineers, landscape architects and designers.

The City Ideas Studio is part-funded by a Bristol 2015 Strategic Grants Fund, and is sponsored by Alec French Architects, Amalgam, Autodesk, Barton Wilmore, BDP, Buro Happold, FCB Studios, Ferguson Mann Architects, RISE Structures, Solarsense and West of England Initiative.

Other City Ideas Studio events include a series of ‘Urban Wandering’ guided walks, led by urban design and conservation specialist Alastair Brook. Green Routes (Wednesday 17 June) invites walkers to discover the Bristol Green Capital-themed ideas and projects contributing to a happier, healthier, resourceful and connected city, in a walk from Brunel’s Mile to Temple Meads (also part of Bristol’s BIG Green Week.  

Food and the City (Wednesday 22 July) will follow a route around the old city walls to discover the culinary history of architectural sites, from medieval times to the present day.

In Feeding the Future City, a free event on Saturday 23 May, families are invited to join a fun and creative drop-in afternoon to explore how cities of the future will feed themselves, draw and model a green future Bristol, and take home an edible seedling.

The Centre’s learning programme extends the City Ideas Studio outside of the Architecture Centre to include children and young people.

Making Buildings is a teaching resource for Key Stage 2/3, using the medium of food to accessibly explore architecture and climate change.

My Green City is a design competition for schools, challenging primary and secondary students in Bristol to respond to a design brief on the theme of sustainable cities, by creating design drawings and 3D models.

And, the Shape My City youth programme for 15-19 year olds offers girls and young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds valuable insight into architecture and sustainability careers through monthly workshops with professionals.

To find out more visit City Ideas Studio and follow @ArchCentre #CityIdeasStudio.